26 year old female struggles with a nervous cough and itching of her arms.
Serena is a 26 year old female who suffered a terrible loss of her father a few years prior to our first session. Shortly after his loss Serena developed horrible anxiety. When the anxiety became more consistent in her life it began to be accompanied by a cough in the back of her throat and nasal passage, along with the sensation of itchy arms. Having dealt with this issue for a number of years with no relief, including medications for anxiety, it finally took a toll on her body when she had her period for excess of 30 days. During the time she had her period for more than 30 days straight, the doctors were unable to determine any cause for her suffering. Serena finally decide she had no choice than to simply deal with her anxiety, itching, and cough on a daily basis until she had met me at a networking event. Open to the idea of hypnosis Serena came in for a total of three sessions and began to feel an incredible relief and improvement in her ailments after the first session.
During our three sessions together, Serena had noted that she had felt a sense of guilt and worry over the past 6 years following the death of her father. She felt a strong need to be there for her mother and take care of her despite her living thousands of miles away from her. There were a number of things following her fathers death that had caused Serena to worry about her mother and the excess stress that she had been experiencing. She felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility and tension that her mother wasn’t taking care of herself. Living so far from her mother, she felt that the best she could offer her was listening, but sometimes it made her feel that it wasn’t enough. However, upon discussing this issue with Serena she made the statement that sometimes people just need someone to listen to and listening can be as therapeutic, if not more, than offering advice that someone may or may not take. When thinking about her mother, or even her friendships in the place she had just moved to, she felt an overall sense of worry that she wasn’t being true to herself. There were multiple times she felt she wasn’t able to be herself and dreaded running into her friends when out. Upon coming back to where she lived after Christmas vacation, she had decided to filter her friends that made her feel worried or uncomfortable. This triggered a stronger response of worry and anxiety with her cough and itching. Simply thinking of all her anxiety would produce tension in her head.
While we discussed the presenting issues, Serena also mentioned that the idea of home was where her husband was. That being with him and in their home always made her feel a sense of comfort and relaxation. On a logical level, Serena was able to give herself great advice about how she would best cope with her anxiety and worry simply by taking a moment to herself and being in her favorite place in her home and focusing on something else. Regarding her mother, she came to the realization that while she wouldn’t be able to fix all the stressful things in her life, the best thing she could do was to be supportive of her mother and to listen.
Why this has occurred
When people experience traumas such as the loss of a loved one it can result in stress not being able to escape the body. Stress and worry when not allowed to be released can cause unwanted and severe body sensations and coping mechanisms to occur in the body. For Serena her coping mechanism became of a cough and arm itching. When looking specifically at body syndromes, such as her arm itching and cough, two syndromes are at play. When looking at the figure below the two areas of her body that are affected fall into the Head and Arm regions, resulting in the inability to express oneself or make decisions and inability or reaching for unobtainable, respectively. When stressors entered into Serena’s body it felt like a tickle in her throat and itchiness on her arms. What had once been a coping mechanism, slowly became a subconscious reaction to dealing with worry and stress.
Method of treatment
It was determine through our first session that Serena didn’t feel much like discussing the loss of her father directly and that she was more concerned with the anxiety that was constantly occurring in her life. Since she felt embarrassed and insecure about her body actions, the first step in treating her symptoms was to introduce Serena into the hypnotic state and have her get in touch with what it feels like to be calm and relaxed the way she is when she is in her favorite place. Once in the deeply relaxed state of hypnosis positive suggestions for overall wellbeing and comfort were given, specifically identifying how the body, arms, shoulders, and head feel when they are allowed to just focus on the calmness around.
In addition to producing the deeply relaxed state of wellbeing, it was important to give Serena a tool that she could use when she felt the anxiety and worry coming. An Anchor was provided to Serena that acted as a stop mechanism for the unwanted reactions of itching and coughing. Specifically, focusing on relaxation moving through her head (relieving head tensions), her arms (specifically alleviating itchiness), and throat (relieving the tickle in the back of her throat).
Serena identified strong with the idea of being a mother and loved being around children. In order to tap into what Serena may need in order to deal with her stress on a deeper level, inner child work was conducted, helping her identify the things that she could give her inner child in order to alleviate the symptoms that were already beginning to go away after our first session.
Our last session dealt directly with additional relaxation technique that would provide an alternative form of internal healing. By discussing the soothing nature of water, how its calming, relaxing, and soothing, while in hypnosis and bringing up the sensation of worry and stress, we would use taking a sip of water as a mechanism for gaining relief. Through feeling the cool water run through her mouth, throat, and body she would begin to feel the internal benefits of the “water of life” which would heal her from the inside out. During this session, Serena exhibited numerous releases of stress and tension as seen through her body becoming even more and more relax, with deep exhales and slight smiles throughout the session.
To date, Serena has almost fully recovered from her symptoms of anxiety, coughing, and itching.